Formed in Los Angeles, California in 1995 the hip-hop group features rapper, songwriter, producer, actor and latterly TV talent show judge will.i.am (William James Adams Jnr.), rapper/producer apl.de.ap (Allen Pineda) and rapper, singer and actor Taboo (Jaime Gomez). The roots of the band go back to 1992 when Adams and Pineda formed Atban Klann and signed to N.W.A. member Eazy-E's Ruthless Records label. Despite recording an album, Eazy-E's untimely death found it shelved and Adams and Pineda restructured the band, and with the addition of Gomez and singer Kim Hill they changed their name to Black Eyes Peas and signed to Interscope Records who released their acclaimed 1998 debut Behind The Front. Despite the record's lack of commercial success the single 'Joints & Jam' received considerable airplay in the UK although it failed to break into the Top 40. Undaunted the group returned two years later with another quality album Bridging The Gap and while it too failed to chart it won them many fans and yielded their first minor international hit with 'Request + Line' which featured guest vocals from Macy Gray.
Following the departure of Hill the group recruited the former all girl group Wild Orchid singer Fergie (Stacy Ann Ferguson). With what became the classic line-up in place they released their third album Elephunk in 2003 which became a bona fide international smash, hitting the heights of charts around the globe and going on to sell in excess of nine million copies. The album also produced several hit singles, the first of which 'Where Is The Love"' (co-written with Justin Timberlake) topped the charts around the world including the UK where it became the best selling single of 2003 due to its infectious hook. Subsequent tracks 'Shut Up', 'Hey Mama' and the Grammy Award winning 'Let's Get It Started' consolidated the albums success and all became substantial international hits.
On a roll, it was less than two years later when the Black Eyes Peas returned to even greater success with 2005's Monkey Business which sold more than ten million copies around the world and yielding the hit singles 'Don't Phunk With My Heart'. 'Don't Lie', 'My Humps' and 'Pump It'. The Black Eyed Peas dedicated most of the next two years to life on the road with financially lucrative sponsored tours; 2006 was spent on the Monkey Business and Honda Civic tours while 2007 saw them heading off on the Pepsi sponsored Black Blue & You world tour where they played concerts in twenty-seven countries in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia.
If the two previous albums had been major successes they were as nothing compared to what was to follow with 2009's The E.N.D which not only sold in excess of eleven million copies worldwide but also supplied the group with the hugely popular singles 'Boom Boom Pow', 'I Gotta Feeling', 'Meet Me Halfway' and 'Imma Be' topping charts around the world. Although 2010's The Beginning was less successful than the previous three albums it still received generally positive reviews and yet another UK No 1 with 'The Time (Dirty Bit)'. After finishing the 2011 The E.N.D World tour the group informed their fans and the media that they would be taking an indefinite break with all members embarking on personal projects.
All four Black Eyed Peas have outside interests; Fergie released the hit album The Duchess in 2006 with the singles 'London Bridge' and 'Glamorous' both topping the US charts, Taboo has acted in several films and apl.de.ap has devoted much of his time to charitable causes. Unsurprisingly the extremely charismatic and eccentric will.i.am has been the most prolific with four solo albums to his credit; Lost Change (2001), Must B 21 (2003), Songs About Girls (2007) and #Willpower (2013), the latter providing the multi-platinum UK chart-toppers 'This Is Love' and 'Scream & Shout'. Other than his producer role on all of the Black Eyed Peas albums he has numerous outside production credits to his name including John Legend, The Pussycat Dolls, Ricky Martin, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, U2, Lady Gaga, Usher, Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus. He was a featured voice actor in the animated films 'Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa' (2008) and 'Rio' (2011), he made his on-screen debut in 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' (2009) and he is a judge on both the UK and Australian version of the TV talent show 'The Voice'. In addition to creating his own signature fashion range and working with the technology company The Intel Corporation as director of creative innovation he has several charitable interests.
Hugely successful, The Black Eyed Peas built their initial career by rejecting the negativity associated with gangsta rap in favour of their own brand of accessible positive rap and gradually evolved their sound to incorporate R&B and dance elements, a move that has elevated them to the pinnacle of popular music and already rewarded them with six Grammy Awards and eight American Music Awards.
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